I was told off on Sunday afternoon for screaming at the television – it was Spurs v Stoke and we needed to win to keep our Champions League chances alive. You see me my passion when I watch football! My sources for reflection are very eclectic and I couldn’t possibly leave football out! I was listening to David Ginola talking about why Gareth Bale was so successful at Spurs and how he might get on at another club. The insight offered by Ginola was that Spurs set themselves up around Bale, he was the focus, the team revolved around him. Now I appreciate that not everyone may agree with the analysis but it got me thinking. I began to wonder if the church would look different if she set herself up with Jesus as the focus and everything that happened revolved around Jesus flourishing.
I am not intending this to be a negative blog about the church – I only got ordained last year and it would have been foolish to do so if I didn’t love the church and want to see her flourish. But sometimes it feels like we are not set up to reveal our biggest asset – Jesus in the way that Spurs at their best are set up to reveal their biggest asset – Gareth Bale. I see real signs of hope in the church where I am a Curate where we are trying to live out the command to love our neighbour in many creative ways. I am very conscious as I draw near to my ordination as a priest of a desire to live a life that mediates God’s love, that shares the priorities of Jesus. I have been doing a little bit of reading about the early church as reflected in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and am concerned that some of the stories that make the press about the contemporary church reflect many of the dysfunctions that were happening there. I went to an information session about a project called Jesus Shaped People last week – I love the name and the vision to encourage congregations to become more Jesus shaped and this includes being prophetic.
Watching Gareth Bale at his best evokes joy and wonder in me, there are times at church that I feel this joy and wonder too. However, I wonder if I would experience it a little more often in the wider church if we worked out what our team would look like it if was built around showing Jesus off to the world.